THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: A new ‘distinct’ variant of coronavirus as detected in Japan in the late February has made health officials in the country to sound alarm before the epidemic starts all over again.
The lethal mutation was discovered in a traveler, in their 60s, from the Philippines who arrived at Narita Airport near Tokyo. As per Japan’s ministry of health, the traveler was asymptomatic but tested positive whilst staying in mandatory quarantine. In the aftermath, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases has suggested an enhancement in travel restrictions and border control.
Since the outbreak, the island nation has reported over 445,585 COVID-19 positive cases with over 8,509 fatalities. The diagnosis of the new SARS-CoV-2 comes as scientists across the world warn that the new mutant virus could possibly resist vaccine jabs. As of now, the country has only approved one vaccine candidate as manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech.
Japan immediately raised an alarm when the new mutation was officially confirmed by the Japanese health ministry on March 13.
In a press release, the officials said that the variant is thought to be more resistant to antibodies which provides defence against COVID-19, similarly to the South African and Brazilian variants. Basically, the new variant was “distinct” from the mutations found in the UK, Brazil and South Africa but posed a similar threat. “The strain has begun to be detected in the Philippines and has spread to some extent here,” authorities warned.
Owing to the present scenario, the country’s government recently decided to exclude overseas spectators from attending the marquee event of 2022 Olympic Games, which Japan still planning to schedule amidst COVID-19. To curb the spread of the Coronavirus, exclusion of overseas spectators is decided as of now.
A final decision will then be taken after the Japanese Government receives a formal nod from the IOC to exclude overseas spectators. “The Japanese government has stated that allowing fans from abroad is not possible amid the Coronavirus concern and the contagious variants reported in several countries”, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Tuesday.
As per Japanese media reports, the government and the country’s organizing committee of the Summer Games are expected to hold a remote meeting with the International Olympic Committee to talk about the matter, later this month and will shortly notify about the same.